Entries in Ted Cruz (12)


Ted Cruz Dismisses Talk of 2016 Presidential Bid While in Iowa

Bill Clark/Roll Call(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- In an interview for This Week with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz dismissed talk of a potential 2016 White House bid, along with the question of whether he is ready to run for the highest office in the land after having been a senator less than a year.

“We are having a national debate about which direction the country should go…and what I am doing now is trying to participate in that national debate,” Cruz said Friday while in Iowa, a state frequented by those with White House ambitions. “I’m not focused on the politics…the last office I was elected to was student council. So this has been a bit of a whirlwind.”

Karl asked Cruz about his eligibility for the White House, which has been questioned given that he was born in Canada.

“My mother was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She’s a U.S. citizen, so I’m a U.S. citizen,” Cruz said.
“I’m not going to engage in a legal debate. The facts are clear,” he added. “I can tell you where I was born and who my parents were. And then as a legal matter, others can worry about that. I’m not going to engage.”

Cruz has established himself as a staunch opponent of immigration reform that includes a so-called “pathway to citizenship,” for the millions of undocumented immigrants currently in the United States, which is a key component of the immigration bill fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio — a potential 2016 presidential primary opponent for Cruz — helped push through the Senate.

Cruz, who said that Rubio ”proceeded in good faith” in his efforts to advance immigration reform, nonetheless said he thought including a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants is unfair to those had have immigrated to the United States legally.

“I think a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally is profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who followed the rules,” Cruz said, adding that he does not think a bill with such a path can pass the House of Representatives.

During the interview with Karl, Cruz criticized President Obama for trying to advance gun control measures following the December massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut that left 20 children dead.

“I think he had a political agenda, which was to restrict the second amendment right to keep and bear arms of law-abiding citizens… They took advantage of that horrible, tragic shooting to push that agenda. And they didn’t focus actually on solving the problem,” Cruz said.

“I think the policies he was advancing were wrong and were dangerous,” he added. “And the point that I was finishing is I admire and respect him in that he fights for his principles, but I think his principles are profoundly dangerous.”

Karl also asked Cruz about arguing a case in front of the Supreme Court at age 32.

“Scalia, Ginsberg, the chief — it was 30 minutes of getting pounded. It was like a head of tuna being thrown to a school of sharks.” Cruz said.

“I will tell you, I have always liked the fact that I sit in my office and I look at a giant painting of me getting my tail whipped 9-0. And it is very good for instilling humility to look and see, ‘ok, that’s what it looks like to lose.’”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Rep. Peter King: Hillary Clinton Would ‘Destroy’ Rand Paul and Ted Cruz

United States Congress(NEW YORK) -- If you’re a 2016 GOP presidential hopeful, watch out for Rep. Peter King’s right hook.

While discussing his boxing skills with ABC News’ Rick Klein, King, R-N.Y., who has been talking up his potential presidential ambitions, took jabs at other possible 2016 contenders.

“I’m going to be feeling out the opponents the first few rounds, throwing jabs and jabs and, when they’re not looking, right cross and it’s all over,” King said.

He even offered some praise for the Democrat who would be the odds-on frontrunner, provided she decided to run.

King believes the Republicans don’t stand a chance if they put up the wrong candidate against Hillary Clinton.

“I think she’s very strong on foreign policy, and I think that if we nominate someone from our isolationist wing of the party, she’ll destroy them,” King said, putting Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz squarely in the isolationist category.

King also had criticism for another potential Republican 2016 hopeful, Sen. Marco Rubio, R- Fla., who King believed failed to deliver on providing aid to the Northeast in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

“I have a lot of regard for Sen. Rubio, but I have some hard feelings after what he did, voting against aid to New York,” King told ABC News. “[It] shows some narrowness which I’m not over yet.”

That said, King’s issues with the GOP are not only limited to the domestic front. The congressman also thinks Republicans need to participate in a “coherent” foreign policy dialogue and should focus on avoiding “name calling” and “pandering to people’s fears.”

“I like Paul [Ryan],” King said. “But as far as defense, Paul hasn’t really spoken out on defense.”

“So far … no one is out there talking about national defense,” he continued. “The economy’s important, immigration’s important but the fact is if we don’t survive as a nation, none of that matters.”

Without this kind of discussion, King believes Republicans will face an uphill battle, especially if the Democrats nominate Clinton. And he is not alone in thinking that.

On Friday, White House strategist David Axelrod said Clinton would be the most likely Democratic nominee in 2016.

“I think that Hillary Clinton probably will be the candidate,” Axelrod said Friday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ted Cruz: ‘Count Me a Proud Wacko Bird’

Douglas Graham/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said he’s willing to embrace the “wacko bird” label given to him by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., if it means he is defending the Constitution.

“If standing for liberty and standing for the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then count me a proud wacko bird,” Cruz said as he delivered the keynote address Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md.

In an interview with the Huffington Post earlier this month, McCain singled out Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., as “wacko birds” when asked whether he felt they are a “positive force” within the Republican Party.

“They were elected, nobody believes that there was a corrupt election, anything else,” McCain said. “But I also think that when, you know, it’s always the wacko birds on right and left that get the media megaphone.

“I think it can be harmful if there is a belief among the American people that those people are reflective of the views of the majority of Republicans. They’re not,” he said.  McCain apologized for the remark Friday in an interview with Fox News.

As he closed out the three-day conservative convention, Cruz took pride in joining Paul’s 13-hour filibuster over the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA, and without naming names, he criticized the senators who refrained from participating in the filibuster.

“There were more than a few senators who were not there with us that have had their manhood cheapened as a result,” Cruz said.

The filibuster marked Cruz’s first time speaking on the floor of the Senate, a moment to which Cruz said, “to my grave, I will owe Rand Paul a debt of gratitude.”

Even though the Republican Party experienced a loss in the presidential election last November, Cruz argued that it’s the conservative movement that’s heading towards success.

“For the last three weeks, conservatives have been winning, and we’re winning because of you,” Cruz said.

Cruz, who is in his first term as a senator, tied for seventh place in the CPAC straw poll with Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, at 4 percent. Paul narrowly won the straw poll. Cruz’s keynote address occurred after straw poll balloting concluded.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Senators’ Kids Steal the Show at Mock Swear-In

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- They have been sworn into the Senate Thursday, but for Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), their kids were the ones who stole the show.

First was Gillibrand’s son, held atop his mother’s hip as she lightly touched the Bible during a mock swear-in with Vice President Joe Biden.

Midway through the oath, Gillibrand’s son reached out his hand and ruffled his mom’s hair.  With a big smile, Gillibrand proceeded with the oath as she tried to tamp down her hair.

Then came Murphy, who carried his son in one arm as he participated in the mock swear-in. (The real swearing-in occurs on the Senate floor; this particular one is a re-enactment for families, friends and photos.) As Murphy lifted his hand to take the oath, the toddler raised his hand as well, providing a perfect photo op for Murphy and his young son together being sworn in as a senator.

And as Catherine Cruz, the youngest daughter of the new Republican senator from Texas, started to cry, Biden quickly picked her up and joked about himself, “That’s a Democrat, I know but that’s O.K.”

Cruz’s wife Heidi quipped back, “She cries loudly for Republicans too.”

Watch more here:


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


GOP Senate Candidate Ted Cruz Sees Tea Party as 'the Future'

Douglas Graham/Roll Call(TAMPA, Fla.) -- With the help of the Tea Party, Ted Cruz bucked the establishment in Texas this summer when he knocked a long-term state politician out of the Republican Senate primary, sending a message that the Tea Party is here to stay.

"I think it is absolutely the future," Cruz told ABC's Nightline anchor Terry Moran.  "In 2010, the Tea Party had a lot of protests in the blazing hot sun.  In 2011 and 2012, the Tea Party went to work.  They rolled up their sleeves.  They got involved in the parties.  They got involved in campaigns.  They started block walking, phone banking."

"In my race, thousands and thousands of Tea Party activists made the difference in the race and it's a fundamental shift.  It's getting the Republican Party back to the principles we should have been standing for in the first place," Cruz told Moran.

Cruz, 41, has never held elective office, but with the support of the Tea Party and prominent Republicans such as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, he was catapulted to victory this summer in a bitter run-off with Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for a Senate seat left open by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

When he entered the race, Cruz was polling at just single digits, but he forced Dewhurst, who was backed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, into a run-off in July, demonstrating the frustration Texans had towards the establishment.

"There is a sense that the folks who have been in office for a long time, they don't get it.  And it is both parties have let us down.  Barack Obama is the most radical president we've ever seen but a lot of Republicans have been complicit with the Democrats in growing spending out of control," Cruz told Moran.  "I think the voters are saying to both parties, 'Get back to the basic, founding principles of our country -- limited government, free markets, individual liberty,' and I think that's what this movement all across the country is about."

A few blocks from the main convention proceedings in Tampa, Fla., hundreds of delegates streamed into a revival style tent on Wednesday to lay the groundwork for an even more conservative Republican future, grooming a whole new crop of leaders, like Cruz, who spoke before the crowd as he was accompanied by his father.

"The stakes have never been higher.  Americans are uniting to turn the country around," Cruz said.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School who attended Princeton University as an undergrad, Cruz served as solicitor general in Texas from 2003 to 2008.  Prior to that, Cruz worked for the Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department, and he clerked for former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, making Cruz the first Latino to clerk for a chief justice.

Cruz is the son of a Cuban immigrant whose story the Texan shared at the convention Tuesday night, even speaking in Spanish -- a language in which Cruz is not fluent -- to describe his father's determination to achieve the American dream.

"He fled to Texas in 1957, not speaking English, with $100 sewn into his underwear.  He washed dishes making 50 cents an hour to pay his way through the University of Texas and to start a small business in the oil and gas industry," Cruz said of his father in a speech at the RNC Tuesday night.  "When he came to America, el no tenia nada, pero tenia corazon.  He had nothing, but he had heart.  A heart for freedom.  Thank you, Dad."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ted Cruz: ‘Thankful’ Tropical Storm Isaac Keeping Biden Away from RNC

Douglas Graham/Roll Call(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Republican Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz tried to make a joke at the expense of Tropical Storm Isaac, counting it among his “blessings” that the storm kept Vice President Joe Biden from campaigning in Tampa during the Republican National Convention.

“We have so many things to be thankful for.  So many blessings, including even we can be thankful for Hurricane Isaac.  If nothing else, it kept Joe Biden away,” Cruz said Sunday at a rally organized by the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Biden planned on bracketing the convention with stops in Tampa Monday and Orlando and St. Augustine Tuesday, but postponed his trip so that resources would be focused on managing the impact of the storm.

“I understand that the Democrats are very sensitive about jokes about Joe Biden, and for good reason. As Ted expressed the very same day, it is critical that everyone be fully prepared for any hurricane, and our prayers are with everyone in the path of Tropical Storm Isaac,” John Drogin, campaign manager for Cruz, said in a statement.

Over the weekend, Isaac tore through the Caribbean, hitting Haiti and the Florida Keys and killing at least nineteen.

The Republican National Committee shortened its convention schedule when the storm threatened to come close to Tampa.  Its course has since turned toward New Orleans, and it is expected to strengthen to Category 1 hurricane status before it hits land late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ted Cruz Wins in Texas GOP Senate Runoff

Bill Clark/Roll Call(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Tea Party star Ted Cruz won the Texas Republican Senate primary Tuesday night, defeating “establishment” candidate and longtime Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

In the past several weeks, victory for Cruz, the former solicitor general, had begun to look increasingly likely, with polls showing him ahead of Dewhurst, and major national Tea Party stars like Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint turning out to campaign for him in the final days leading up to Tuesday's runoff.  However, for the bulk of the race Cruz had been the underdog, lacking in the wealth and name recognition enjoyed by Dewhurst, who has been the lieutenant governor under Rick Perry since 2003.

While Cruz, 41, may have had the majority of national star power on his side, Dewhurst, 66, had the backing of many in the Texas political establishment, including Perry.  Dewhurst also enjoyed a huge financial advantage over Cruz.  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Dewhurst poured $11 million of his own personal fortune -- he founded a successful energy company called Falcon Seaboard -- into his campaign, spending a total of $19 million, as compared to Cruz’s $7 million spent. 

But ultimately Dewhurst’s wallet was no match for Cruz’s political prowess.

Cruz painted his opponent as a moderate who would be willing, if not eager, to compromise with Democrats in Congress. 

Dewhurst has a very conservative record -- he’s anti-abortion rights, he supports a balanced budget amendment, and on Monday morning, he stopped by a Chick-Fil-A to show his support for the restaurant embroiled in a controversy regarding their president’s recent comments on gay marriage. 

Nevertheless, Cruz and his supporters pointed to compromises Dewhurst had made with Democrats in the state legislature, and argued that his record was merely a reflection of Perry’s conservative agenda and did not provide an accurate representation of Dewhurst’s own governing style.

The two men battled fiercely; neither imploded at any time, neither veered off their course, and the race remained close throughout the two months in between the state and presidential primary on May 29, when no one candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff. 

But in the end, strong poll numbers, strong surrogates and a slew of outside spending money from Tea Party affiliated groups like “FreedomWorks” and “Club For Growth” came together to give Cruz momentum that carried him over the finish line.

Cruz will go up against Democratic challenger state Rep. Paul Sadler in the fall in the open race to fill the seat left open by Kay Bailey Hutchison’s retirement, but he is widely expected to win because of the state’s strong Republican leanings.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Voters Head to Polls in Senate Primary Runoff

Bill Clark/Roll Call(AUSTIN, Texas) -- After a long, expensive and fiercely-fought battle, the Texas GOP Senate primary will come to a close on Tuesday as voters cast ballots in the runoff between Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz.

Dewhurst, 66, and Cruz, 41, are facing off for the second time in their race to win the GOP nomination for Senate to fill the seat left vacant by Kay Bailey Hutchison’s retirement.  The two men battled for the first time in the state’s presidential and congressional primary on May 29.

But Texas election code stipulates that a candidate must receive 50 percent or more of the vote in a primary in order to win the nomination outright, and both men failed to hit that mark among a crowded primary field in May.

Although Dewhurst held a solid lead over Cruz in the May primary -- he finished with about 45 percent while Cruz received about 34 percent -- recent polling has shown Cruz ahead.  And while ultimately neither candidate’s victory will change the outcome of the race in the end -- the GOP nominee will be heavily favored to win the Senate race in November -- a Cruz victory would be a big win for the Tea Party.

Dewhurst, the longtime lieutenant governor to Texas governor and Tea Party star Rick Perry, is viewed as the “establishment” candidate in the race.  Cruz, the state’s first Hispanic solicitor general, is a rising Tea Party star.  He has garnered support from national leaders affiliated with the movement, including Jim DeMint, Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin, all of whom turned out to campaign for Cruz this weekend.

Dewhurst is not lacking in conservative backing either.  Perry and Mike Huckabee have both appeared in ads for the candidate, and he has received endorsements from prominent pro-life groups like Texans for Life.  But Cruz and his supporters have questioned whether Dewhurst is indeed a “true conservative,” citing compromises Dewhurst made with Democrats in the state legislature during his time as lieutenant governor.

Judging by their records, and by the deeply red voter demographic in Texas, it’s highly likely that both men would be a dependable Republican vote in the Senate.  Nevertheless, the symbolism of Cruz’s outsider status, coupled with his prominent supporters, illustrates the boost to the movement his victory would bring.

In addition to the Tea Party vs. establishment narrative, the other story line that has dominated the Texas GOP Senate race is the money raised and spent.  The race is the most expensive Senate race in the country in terms of money spent, and the second-most expensive in terms of money raised so far (the Massachusetts Senate race has seen the most money raised), according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Cruz and Dewhurst have spent a combined total of $26 million, $19 million of which has come from Dewhurst.  The founder of a successful energy company, Falcon Seaboard, Dewhurst has spent $11 million out of his own pocket.  A lot of outside money has been spent on the race as well -- about $13.5 million.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Texas Senate Primary Hits Final Stretch

Bill Clark/Roll Call(AUSTIN, Texas) -- It's been 19 months and tens of millions of dollars in the making, but the Texas Senate primary between former State Solicitor General Ted Cruz and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is finally nearing its end.

Next Tuesday, the two candidates face off in a runoff race for the GOP nomination for the Senate seat left open by Kay Bailey Hutchison's retirement.

When Hutchison announced her decision to retire in January 2011, Dewhurst seemed the likely replacement.  The longtime lieutenant governor had the experience, name recognition and money necessary to run in the Lone Star state.  But as was the case for many other seemingly shoo-in nominees before him, a Tea Party challenger emerged and the race became competitive.

The challenger was Ted Cruz, the former state solicitor general and a rising Tea Party star who has received the backing of such major national conservative politicians as Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin.  Cruz, 41, is young, charismatic and part Hispanic, characteristics that have led to comparisons with another rising Tea Party star, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

Cruz and Dewhurst initially faced off in May in the state's Republican presidential and congressional primaries.  But Texas' election bylaws stipulate that candidates must receive at least 50 percent of the vote to win the nomination.  Since neither Dewhurst nor Cruz hit the 50 percent mark in May, amid a primary field that included several other candidates, they face a final runoff on Tuesday.

The race has been brutal at times.  Dewhurst and Cruz have hit hard and consistently at each other for months.  The race also stands out as the most expensive Senate race in the country so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.  More than $37 million has been spent, the vast majority of which has come from Dewhurst.  Dewhurst spent $11 million of his own money -- part of a fortune he amassed from his energy company, Falcon Seaboard -- on the campaign out of a total of $19 million spent.

Cruz has raised and spent considerably less, taking in about $8 million and spending about $7 million.  However, what Cruz has lacked in finances he will probably make up for in star power.  Palin, Jim DeMint, Glenn Beck and Santorum will all be campaigning on Cruz's behalf this weekend.  Although Palin has backed several candidates in this election cycle -- Richard Mourdock in Indiana, Deb Fischer in Nebraska, Orrin Hatch in Utah -- all of whom went on to to win their respective Senate primary races, she hasn't been out on the trail that much.

The race is expected to be close, but so was Fischer's race in Nebraska, and Palin didn't turn out to campaign for her.  Palin's stumping for Cruz speaks to the star power the young candidate has amassed.

The candidate who wins the nomination will almost definitely go on to win the Senate seat in this deep red state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin to Campaign with Ted Cruz in Texas

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Sarah Palin is getting back on the campaign trail. She’ll hit the road this Friday for an evening rally for Ted Cruz, Texas candidate for the U.S. Senate, at the Woodlands, north of Houston, his campaign and a Palin friend confirmed to ABC News.

Palin appeared at an Americans for Prosperity rally earlier this month in Michigan, but she hasn’t been out and about recently in support of candidates she has backed. During the 2010 midterms, she went on tour with the Tea Party Express, making stops throughout the country on behalf of Tea Party candidates.

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint will also be on hand for the 6 p.m. rally, and Rick Santorum will be campaigning with Cruz over the weekend, although the details are still being worked out.

This Friday begins the final weekend before the Texas Republican Senate runoff. On Tuesday, Cruz faces off against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for the seat being vacated by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Dewhurst, a former solicitor general of Texas, is backed by Gov. Rick Perry and was once considered a shoe-in until Palin and other conservative favorites got involved in the race.

Cruz’s communications director James Bernsen said they expect large crowds at the events in Dallas and Houston. Bernsen told ABC News that after Palin’s endorsement before the May 31 primary they received between 900 and 1,000 online donations almost immediately.

The former Alaska governor has a stellar GOP primary endorsement record so far this cycle. She backed Orrin Hatch in his Senate primary in Utah, Richard Mourdock in his primary against Dick Lugar in Indiana, and helped Deb Fischer with her surprise victory in Nebraska. She still has not formally endorsed presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney, nor joined him on the campaign trail.

The Texas senate race is the most expensive in the country so far this cycle, with more than $37 million spent so far. Dewhurst spent $11 million of his own money alone.

News of Palin campaigning with Cruz was first reported by the National Journal.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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